Blood Flow Restriction Training in ACL Rehab

It's not if, It's when!

Blood Flow Restriction Training in ACL Rehab – It’s not if, It’s when!

“You should begin high-quality rehabilitation immediately after an ACL injury”, as earlier stated in a blog post. Everyone with an ACL injury experiences early loss in muscle mass and muscle strength. So the first phase is crucial! 

Can we reduce these losses and restore them more early with Blood Flow Restriction Training (BFRT)?

Credits to The BFR Pros

Yes you heard that right! Blood Flow Restriction Training is able to increase muscle mass and strength with much lesser weights or NO weights at all. Which is absolutely important to maintain and improve post ACL reconstruction to restore daily functioning and participation to sports!

EXPERTS AGREE ON THE RECOMMENDATION TO USE BFR IN ACL REHAB

(Practice guideline Kotsifaki et al., 2023)

Based on the scientific evidence, high intensity strength training is necessary to get these improvements. But all of you know that training with heavy loads is far from possible after that ACL reconstruction. We need to protect tissue healing and respect the reduced load capacity of the knee! Especially when there are weight bearing restrictions given by the surgeon because of for example a meniscal repair.

So we have no other choice than applying low intensity training. But almost always muscles aren’t getting into fatigue and thus you aren’t experiencing the feeling of the pump, because of the very high amount of repetitions needed. The pump is actually very important to achieve because we then know that mechanisms are taking place and we are reducing the loss or even gaining muscle mass and strength.

BFR IS NO MAGIC! IT’S PURE EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY

Besides that, BFR could:

  • Reduce pain
  • Reduce loss in bone mineral density and bone mass
  • Possibly reduce swelling
  • Possibly resolve activation problems
  • Maintain or improve aerobic capacity, muscle mass and muscle strength with Aerobic BFRT
  • Improve physical functioning and quality of life
  • Be used safe in adolescents

LL-BFR OUTPERFORMS LL TRAINING WITHOUT BFR